University of South Carolina

Andrew Sorensen, 27th president, dies

Andrew A. Sorensen, the 27th president of the University of South Carolina, died Sunday (April 17).

Andrew A. Sorensen
Andrew A. Sorensen

Dr. Sorensen, 72, was Carolina’s president from 2002-08 and was distinguished professor and distinguished professor emeritus in the School of Medicine until last fall when he left to become senior development officer at Ohio State University.

President Harris Pastides said the university community was deeply saddened by Sorensen’s death and that higher education had lost a nationally respected leader.

“All of us at Carolina are deeply saddened by the loss of Andrew Sorensen.” Pastides said. “As a nationally respected leader in American higher education, Andrew left his mark across our nation, and his contributions to our university were many and important.

“He will be remembered as the father of Innovista, as a bridge builder to the African American community and to the University Hill neighborhood, where he and Donna lived for two years while the President’s House on the Horseshoe was undergoing much needed renovation.

“He was a gifted professor, an accomplished administrator and ebullient public servant who brought intellect, judgment, passion and wit to his every calling. He never stopped growing, inspiring others and winning friends. His loss is a deeply personal one for Patricia and me and for all of the staff, faculty, trustees and students who knew him. How fortunate we are to have had this wonderful man in our lives."

Miles Loadholt, chairman of USC’s Board of Trustees, said the university made great strides under Sorensen’s leadership.

“Andrew Sorensen brought visionary ideas and enthusiasm to the presidency of the University of South Carolina,” Loadholt said. “I will always remember how tirelessly he and Donna worked on behalf of Carolina. The university made great strides during his presidency, and we will always be grateful to him and Donna for their service and their tenure. The university and the State of South Carolina have lost a true friend, and all of higher education has lost a devoted leader.”

Dr. Sorensen, a noted public health scholar, was president of the University of Alabama before becoming president of Carolina. Prior to joining UA in 1996, he served for six years as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Florida. He also served as executive director of the AIDS Institute at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and was a professor of health policy and management at The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Dr. Sorensen was former director of the School of Public Health at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and, prior to that, was on the faculty at Lincoln University, the University of Rochester and Cornell University. He also was a visiting faculty member at the Harvard University School of Medicine and the University of Cambridge School of Medicine.

Dr. Sorensen wrote or edited six books and more than 100 articles. He earned a bachelor’s degree in ethics and a master's and a doctoral degree in medical sociology from Yale University. He also earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Illinois and a master's in public health from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Sorensen is survived by his wife of 42 years, Donna, their two sons, Aaron and Benjamin, and their grandson, Art.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 04/17/11 @ 7:25 PM | Updated: 04/20/11 @ 3:25 PM | Permalink